Civic Imagination

We are all Martín Fierro

Martín Fierro is a gaucho who has to work at a border fort defending his land. He lives in very poor conditions and tries to return home, but discovers that everything he has known before is not there anymore: his house, his farm and his family. As a result, Fierro tries to get everything back and in the process, he becomes an outlaw pursued by the police militia. In battle with them, he acquires a companion called Sergeant Cruz. The two set out to live among the natives, hoping to find a better life there. The story is set in the Pampas, one of the rural areas of Argentina. What makes the protagonist inspiring is the fact that he does his best to solve every single problem he finds in his life, and he would do anything to protect his origins.

Martín Fierro is my country's national epic poem. It was written in the 19th century by José Hernandez. The first time I encountered the piece was in high school because it is quite a popular reading in Argentina. As it is has a lot of methaphors and visual images, the reading can be more difficult than a novel. Also, the book has around 800 pages so it can be a bit long for those who are not familiar with gauchesque poetry. At first, I didn't fully understand the whole book, but after years, everything got clearer. I believe it resumes my country both historically and culturally. Moreover, I have chosen this story because i feel identifies with the main character, Martín Fierro, who creates his identity out of every place and person he meets. That's how i feel. I strongly believe our identities are not something static, they are a process and it is made by small things you encounter during your life. The story is broadly known and has been translated in several languages. As it is really popular in Argentina, I shared it with people from other countries who didn't know it and found it interesting too.

I think Martín Fierro can inspire everyone who reads it because it can be applicated to any country around the world. It's not just an Argentinian story. I think every nation has had people who lived in tough conditions and had to find a way to make a living. Furthermore, the story could be useful to inspire social change because it is a picture of how many people lose everything they have and have to start from scratch. It made me realise that the crisis migration has a bit of Martín Fierro in it. Although the context may be different, the reality is very similar. The themes it touches upon are family, union and traditions.

Argentina, Martín Fierro, gauchos, argentinian history, argentinian culture

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